Olympic Youth curling team featuring Lauren Ragala falls to Japan in extra end

Lasalle celebrates Lauren Rajala as she heads to Youth Winter Olympics

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The Canadian Olympic Youth U18 team put up a great fight, entering into the semi-final against Japan with an undefeated record in round-robin play and managing to tie the game in the final end to force an extra eight rock end.

Lauren Rajala, the granddaughter of Irwin and Mary Lewis of Kagawong is on the Canadian team and she carried the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies for the games. Her teammates at the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics in Switzerland were skip Nathan Young of Torbay, Newfoundland, Jaedon Neurert of Winnipeg and Emily Deschenes of Ottawa.

At the end of the regular play, it took several careful measurements by the judges until it was finally determined that the Canadians had tied the Japanese team to force an extra end. But once the last rock was tossed it was the Japanese who had eked out a 5-4 win over the Canadian rink to advance to the finals.

The Canadian team wax philosophical about the loss, noting that they considered it an honour to have been given the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage and how each rock thrown under the immense pressure of being under the world gaze was taken as a learning experience.

“I mean, honestly, it’s been such an amazing experience,” Lauren told the CBC following the game. “I couldn’t have asked for three better teammates. They’re amazing curlers. I am happy to call them family.”

As the Canadian team stepped out onto the Swiss ice at the beginning of the competition, it was only the second time the rink with young curlers from across Canada had competed together. Not a bad start to what are bound to be amazing careers going forward.